Elizabeth Lloyd Lewis (Betty) - Betty Matthews

"Elizabeth Lloyd Lewis"

Miss Betty Matthews in real life,
later in life, Mrs. Robert Feagin of Macon, GA

Betty, actually stayed a year in Lloydsborough (Pewee) Valley, and her real-life ability to write poetry immediately endeared her to Annie Fellows Johnston. During the time the real-life Elizabeth Matthews was in the area, her father, Gustavus Matthews, wrote for The Courier-Journal in nearby Louisville. Yet the character, "Betty," in the Little Colonel books is a composite character.  Physically, she is Betty Matthews, niece of Kate Matthews, photographer of the Little Colonel stories.  The photograph at the right was taken by Kate.

We first meet Betty in The Little Colonel's House Party (1900), Chapter 2

However, for the events of the stories, Betty is partly the author herself, as most who read the entire series will suspect. Many of the incidents told of Betty are from Annie Fellows Johnston's own experiences as a girl.  A notable example is the old church and its little library from The Little Colonel's Holidays. This relates a true memory from Annie Fellows Johnston's childhood.

Annie Fellows Johnston thus was once quoted as saying that of all the characters, Betty was "the most real in the books."





From an original photo courtesy of the Bagby Family.
(It's certainly not hard to see here why Jack Ware was crazy about her)










Photo of Betty at Christmas at Twigmore, about 1950
See our Kate Matthew's page for the complete photo








Betty doing a re-enactment of the famous picture
(top of page) taken of her decades earlier
(The University of Louisville Ekstrom Library has the original print in their Kate Matthews collection and a clear scan on their Kate Matthews website at 






A Photo by Kate Mathews








































Gustavus (Kate Matthews' brother) was the oldest boy of the Matthews children. He wrote for the Louisville Courier-Journal before leaving Kentucky.  Matthews married Helen F. from Ohio. They had 5 daughters:

  • Felice M.(1882-1965) or "Aunt Fliss" who married Ferd Guttenberger (died in 1945) and never had children. She died in Macon.
  • Mary B (1884-1965)
  • Elizabeth (1886-1958), aka Betty or "Aunt Bet" married Robert Feagin (1877-1918) around 1910, and had three children, Robert R. (b. 1912), Elizabeth Matthews (b. 1914) and Virginia M (b. 1916). Betty died in Macon, Georgia where her three children lived.
  • Alice C. (1888-1984) married Pope Furman Brock in 1921, and had two children, Pope F., Jr. (b 1923) and Mary J. (b. 1925)
  • Lillian F. (1890-?), married Charles Edward Crawford and had one child, Neil L (b. 1918)

Many thanks to Susan Finley, University of Louisville, for putting together the Matthews genealogical information